Figure skating eyes fifth straight national championship
By Sharon Dauson, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, April 2, 2008
With four consecutive national titles and five undefeated seasons under its belt, Dartmouth's figure skating team will defend its title at the Intercollegiate National Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich., this weekend.
Dartmouth qualified to represent the Eastern Region in the National Championship after winning the qualifying competition held at the University of Delaware on March 2. Dartmouth's figure skating has qualified for every National Collegiate Figure Skating Championship since the league's first championship in 2000.
"Qualifying for nationals is very exciting and an honor," co-captain Nicole Newman '08 said.
For Newman and her fellow seniors, the meet will be an opportunity to finish a flawless four years with another National Championship title.
"I can't believe this is my last collegiate competition," Newman said. "This coming weekend at Michigan is going to be a lot about enjoying having the opportunity to represent Dartmouth for the last time. Technically, I am hoping to skate a clean Senior long and short program."
Co-captain Daniel Dittrick '08 aims to approach his last National Championship as he would any other competition and focus on his individual performance.
"We try to take it one competition at a time," he said. "Any individual skater might have had a disappointing performance at a previous competition, but the overall goal for the team is get every member excited and focused on the present so that we all give our best efforts when it is our turn to take center ice."
This season, the team will have to overcome obstacles it did not face at last year's championship meet. Dartmouth will enter the competition with a smaller team than it has had in the past, and the Big Green will face a higher level of competition than they have faced thus far this season.
Zoe Dmitrovsky '09 said she believes that the team's small size will be its biggest weakness going into the competition.
"The beginning of our season was challenging after losing so many [seniors]," she said. "The overall size of our competitive team shrunk, and many skaters entered new events this season for the first time."
This year, 10 teams will compete in the meet. In the past, only nine teams have been allowed to compete. Dittrick thinks the additional team will make the competition stiffer than it has been in the past.
"This year there are 10 going because there was a three-way tie for second place overall in the Eastern Division," Dittrick explained. "The team will have to try our best to not focus too much on the other teams but on being as strong and confident as we ourselves can be."
Dittrick attributes Dartmouth's continued success to a supportive team environment that she said allows everyone to flourish individually, and to the freshmen who have performed well this season.
"This year the team has done a great job having skaters being as encouraging as they can to other teammates. Even though we each skate and perform individually, generous and respectful team spirit, I think, is a hallmark of the Dartmouth Skating Team," Dettrick said. "We also have some pretty wonderful freshmen who jumped right in and have stepped up to give excellent performances and replace the former seniors."
In addition to the team's dynamics, Newman attributes the team's success to its extensive training.
"The team unity this season has been a big part of our success," she said. "The things off the ice have been a large factor. Also, the team has been training extremely hard on the ice."